The first-ever recipient of the Gordon L. Goldie Memorial Scholarship tells us how she found fundraising and why she pursued it.
This month, Parley spoke with Susan Barnes, the 2015 recipient of the Gordon L. Goldie Memorial Scholarship. Established in memory of The Goldie Company’s founder, this scholarship honours Gordon’s legacy and supports Humber College students who are on their way to creating meaningful change as fundraising professionals.
You just received the Gordon L. Goldie Scholarship. Congratulations! What brought you to Humber College for the Fundraising Management program?
Before I started at Humber College, I spent four summers as a canvasser for different organizations. There was something very cool about learning about these charities, how they work, and how they can have tremendous positive impact. Through the canvassing service, I did a short internship with a human rights non-profit and worked on its monthly giving program. I also worked for a Toronto women’s shelter. These immersive experiences—meeting the people who work tirelessly for a vision and seeing their impact—sparked my passion for fundraising.
I wanted to learn as much as I could. When I came across the Humber program and spoke with Ken Wyman, it became clear that the program would provide a life-changing learning opportunity. It would also help me get ahead in my chosen career.
The Humber program offers a post-graduate certificate. What were you doing before you arrived at the college?
I have a Bachelor of Applied Science degree from the University of Guelph and a diploma from Humber College’s North Campus, where I majored in psychology. I’m interested in people—that’s how I ended up studying psychology. Fundraising is a perfect fit!
The Humber program requires that students complete an internship. Where will you be completing yours, and what do you hope to gain from the experience?
This month I’ll be starting a major gifts internship at a hospital foundation in Toronto. I’m excited to put what I’ve learned at school into practice and continue to learn from my colleagues at this established foundation. I’m thankful for the Goldie scholarship because it allows me some freedom to focus on my internship and get the most out of the experience as possible.
What’s next for you, Susan? What’s your dream job?
That’s a good question. The program has opened up so many possibilities: major gifts, direct marketing, monthly giving. It’s hard to decide where to focus; I’m having so much fun learning about the different aspects of fundraising! I do know that I want to wake up every day feeling good about where I work. Fundraising for a social justice organization would be ideal.
One last question: What are a few things you’ve learned at Humber that you’ll apply in your career?
Be curious and ask questions. People hold a great amount of knowledge, and you just have to ask questions to tap into that knowledge. Also, don’t be afraid to contact people in the sector. I love the fact that I’ve had so much support from the program, as well as friends of the program. There are so many warm and welcoming people in this field who will return phone calls and emails when you ask for their advice. Someday, I want to be that person for somebody in the program.